The host nation Ireland were crowned Partnership Trophy winners by just half a point in TGI Golf’s annual battle of the nations in association with Callaway and Callaway Apparel.
Irish eyes were smiling at the beautiful Lough Erne Resort as the boys in green ended the two-day event with 22 points, just half ahead of Scotland, leaving last year’s winners England & Wales languishing in third on just 16.5 points.
Over two days, mixed with sunshine and torrential rain showers, PGA Professionals from golf’s leading retail services group tussled over the resort’s Faldo Course, playing matchplay fourballs on the first day with two points going to each winning pair. This was followed by three-ball singles strokeplay medal, where the winner received three points, second two points and third a single point.
In testing conditions, there was some outstanding golf on show, which may have had something to do with a coaching clinic staged by Sky Sports Golf pundit and European Tour coach Denis Pugh prior to the first day’s play.
Each nation was made up of eight TGI Golf Partners, who qualified via two events in each country where the top four made it through to the teams, which were skippered by three of the group’s retail consultants – Peter Smyth (Ireland), Paul McGregor (Scotland) and Chris Taylor (England & Wales).
Winning skipper Smyth, who saw victory snatched away last year following a sudden death play-off, said: “The standard of golf out there during this event was outstanding, which was highlighted by the tight winning margin. The elements were very challenging, it was tough on both days but when the extreme weather came in our guys managed to dig deep and keep going.
“For guys to be going out there and shooting level par, one-over and two-over, in those conditions was outstanding. It’s pushed the Partnership Trophy to another level and we cannot wait to defend it.”
Jerry Scullion, PGA Professional at Kilkeel Golf Club, was also part of last year’s Irish team and was delighted to finally get his hands on the trophy.
He added: “This is twice I’ve played in this event and it’s absolutely fantastic, it’s such a different element to come away and play in a team event. The support Callaway and TGI Golf give to us is immense and the camaraderie between all the nations is excellent. We’re competitive out on the golf course, but off it we are all talking, swapping ideas and working closely together, bouncing thoughts off each other and helping our businesses.”
The victorious Ireland team was made up of David Allen (Newtownstewart GC), Jason Greenaway (Banbridge GC), Brian Kerley (Ardee GC), Brendan McGovern (Headfort GC), Cian McNamara (Monkstown GC), David Ryan (Cahir Park GC), Raymond Ryan (Thurles GC) and Jerry Scullion (Kilkeel GC).
Scotland were represented by Scott Clelland (Hayston GC), Andrew Crerar (Panmure GC), Norman Huguet (Musselburgh GC), Gary McFarlane (Clober GC), Chris Robinson (Portpatrick Dunskey GC), Gordon Stewart (Cawder GC), Ian Taylor (Drumpellier GC) and Stuart Williamson (Clydeway Golf Performance Centre).
The England & Wales team was Adrian Ambler (Low Laithes GC), Andrew Butterfield (Knowle Park GC), Andrew Collison (Bungay & Waveney GC), Jon Earl (Ifield GC), Tony Hilton (Lewes GC), Richard Lambert (Crosland Heath GC), John Lines (Golf Support) and Michael Vandenberg (Rochford Hundred GC).
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